President Debora Spar of Barnard College just announced that the College’s next dean will be Avis Hinkson, ’84. She will be taking up her duties starting February 14, 2011. In an email sent to students today, Spar called Hinkson, who has served for the past six years as UC Berkeley’s Director of the Office of Undergraduate Advising, someone who can “[build] on Dean Denburg’s legacy.” DSpar’s full email is after the jump.
It is my great pleasure to announce that Avis Hinkson ’84 has been named the next Dean of the College. Chosen from a remarkable group of final candidates, Avis brings nearly thirty years of experience in higher education to this vital role. I will be honored and delighted to welcome her back to her alma mater on February 14, 2011, when she begins her tenure as Dean.
From the start of the search in June, the steering committee was charged with finding a candidate who, building on Dean Denburg’s legacy, would serve as an advocate for Barnard students and student life, would be a competent and experienced manager and an excellent communicator, and would both respect Barnard tradition and possess a willingness to innovate. Through decades of service at a range of prestigious academic institutions, Avis Hinkson has proven in her strengths and values that she is the leader we were seeking.
For the past six years at the University of California-Berkeley, Avis has orchestrated the academic advising of over 18,000 undergraduate liberal arts students as Director of the Office of Undergraduate Advising. In strategic and creative ways, she has advised individual students, small groups, and cohorts at critical points in their undergraduate education, from pre-orientation to graduation. She has worked, as well, in close collaboration with deans, faculty, department chairs and student service staff across the University to build the kind of bridges that benefit students most as they navigate their college careers.
Prior to her arrival at UC-Berkeley, Avis spent more than twenty years in enrollment management, beginning as a work-study student in Barnard’s Admissions Office and culminating with her position as Dean of Admission and Enrollment Planning at Mills College. Committed to addressing issues of access to higher education throughout her career, Avis developed and implemented the strategic plan for minority recruitment at a number of institutions including Pomona College and the liberal arts college at Cornell University.
And, for our 33,000 alumnae and 2,400 students, it is a particular point of pride to note that Avis has been a devoted alumna since she graduated as a psychology major in 1984. Nearly every year of the past 26, she has served as fundraising chair for her class and has never ceased to maintain a strong and meaningful connection to the College. She is that unique combination—a Barnard alumna, a native New Yorker, and a proven leader with tremendous spirit and great ideas.
I would like to take this opportunity to offer very special thanks to Dorothy Denburg, an extraordinary leader and colleague who, for many generations of Barnard women, has come to define the College. We owe her an immeasurable debt of gratitude for her seventeen-year service as Dean of the College and look forward to all that she will continue to do for Barnard in her new role as Vice President for College Relations.
And, of course, I want to thank our diligent and thoughtful steering committee. Their task was enormous and the outcome of their search is nothing less than wonderful news for the College.
I know that you will all join me in warmly welcoming Avis back to Barnard. It will be a joy and a privilege.